Is Tasha asserting her presence in the face of Holly’s dominance? On Saturday the 3rd, Pooch caught this 2-minute video of Tasha stomp-walking, which I interpret as leaving scent in tracks to let bears know of your presence. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1PWL6fzw7g
Then, also yesterday, with the temperature at 70° Fahrenheit, Tasha and Holly each spent time breaking ice in the pond with Tasha even playing with the ice a bit as shown in one of these two videos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egMS-sbXXjs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMLLr7tY5Tk
At the WRI, after the recent warm days, the ice on Woods Lake was black showing that break-up was coming. By the end of the day, nearly half the lake was open. Woods Lake is always the first lake in this area to open up.
The mink named Guitar may have noticed the open water and taken advantage of it. His head and white patch were wet when he arrived at the WRI around 7 PM after being gone for a couple days. When he left, he went deep into the woods and may be gone awhile again. It’s spring. Snow is down to patches, and I suspect that his feeding opportunities are expanding. We don’t see minks here in summer.
But we do see herring gulls, the main gull of the Northwoods, and there is a stream of them throughout each day. Some of the “catchers” of last year are back waiting expectantly for me to toss bologna like Frisbees for them to catch.
Is Spanky getting ready to roam? He set a record today with his longest absence from the den—5 hours and 48 minutes. At this moment, he is sleeping like a log as he does through most of each day.
With the nice weather and Woods Lake opening up, I’m looking forward to a paddle to see the wildlife and to check out the beaver lodges for sounds of beaver kits. Already today, there were two beautiful male Wood Ducks and a male Mallard near the far shore. Spring, and the freedom it brings, is one of the most exciting times of year, although it cannot beat the bears of summer.
Thank you for all you do.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center
Wildlife Research Institute
145 West Conan Street
Ely, Minnesota 55731 USA